Over the weekend had a joy of sitting with an individual who is on a mission to bring change to the LIVE Entertainment Industry. He has made it his mission to bring change to the sector called “Secondary Ticketing”. His insight into the problem was remarkable, considering he is not from the music or live entertainment industry. He was drawn to the industry after watching a televised parliamentary debate in December 2016.
This individual was introduced to me by a close friend, who thought I would be interested in meeting a potential future figure. Who wants to bring change to the music industry (Live Entertainment Industry) and had other ideas for business growth and is view of the world was different to many. This business was looking to disrupt was a major problem faced by many people across the globe and it was worth billions. He had came up with a business model to bring change after watching a Parliamentary Debate and was not even from the Music Industry.
My friend actually sold this guy and I had to have a meeting to learn more.
Yes, on hearing this, I thought this guy was a bit of a nerd or had no life to be watching parliamentary debates. How wrong one could be, as this individual was far from this fact. Once, I got to meet him in person.
We met for a coffee and he bought me a breakfast, not bad as he was willing to put his hand in his pocket. He introduced himself and we just had a general chat.
Of course, I had a quick look at the information available across the worldwide web regarding this topic of secondary ticketing before meeting up and was flabbergasted, how big this problem was and how hard it was for a person to acquire a ticket to see the likes of Ed Sheeran or top flight star. If this individual is saying he could bring change, then a chat is a must.
Once, we got down to talking about the problem and solutions to bring change to the secondary ticketing, there was no stopping him. It was evident that he was passionate about this topic and had undertaken an in-depth review. This enabled him to establish solutions to bring an end or control the secondary ticketing.
It seemed the Ticketing of many events were broken down into two element and not a matter of one designated selling route or one sector. The selling routes were used as prescribed as follows:
Ticketing agent licenced / contracted by the venue, promoter or artist to issue and manage initial ticketing, pre-sales and allocations. They release the Public Allocation via their ticketing platform
Third-party ticketing companies, brokers, allocated ticket-holders given tickets through their relationship and contractual agreements. To release or sale via their sales platform.
It was evident that the “Secondary Ticketing” was a term used openly, as indicated there are platforms / websites available to enable the secondary ticketing holders to sell their tickets via “TICKET Exchanges” known as VIAGOGO, GETMEIN, SEATWAVE, STUBHUB, TWICKETS etc. These sites make their monies via service and delivery charges they place on the seller or buyer for re-selling their ticket and there is no law prevent individuals selling their tickets.
Biggest surprise was the majority of the tickets to an event were placed in allotments and allocated to different routes (sell). During the meeting a Taylor Swift concert was used as an example, concert capacity 13,900, there were only 1,900 tickets allocated to Public General Sale. It was estimated the 12,000 tickets allocated to sponsors, venue, artist, promotion, management team, media and industry persons etc. Which usually ended up on Ticketing Exchanges.
Tickets allocated to general public were sold out within one minute of release on the Primary Ticketing Agent website. While there were tickets available on the “Ticket Exchanges” with a price increase averaging by 200% of more, in some circumstanes tickets have been x20 face-value.
It was pointed out that tickets have been sold out within seconds of being released on sale and this only indicates technology built into the worldwide web known as BOTS are being used, no ticket allocation for general sale or inside trading within the ticketing company. As it takes a majority of humans approximately 5 – 10 mins to complete the buying process on a majority of the primary ticketing sites.
Although these practises are unethical, it was evident that they are accepted by many in the music industry. Although they did not like the practises of ripping off their fans, they would not take any actions other than speak out from time to time. The main reason for the industry not actually taking action was they either could not or would not, as it would potentially bring financial difficulty. The majority of artists / bands rely upon the revenues produced by Live Entertainment as their mainstream income.
This sector is controlled by the Promoters / Venue Owners / Ticketing and the term “Never bit the hand that feeds you” comes into play or rings true. There are monopolies formed within the music industry and secondary ticketing generates £1billion in UK alone. The monopolies support the secondary ticketing market and have business established to sell on their own ticket exchanges or others.
As we spoke, it become evident this point was an area that frustration, as it was indicated that having sat with many organisations working in the Music Industry and had been developed to bring change to this secondary ticketing. Were found to be reluctant to take action or support any business offering to bring change.
An organisation formed by artist management and industry insiders had a vision to bring change to the secondary ticketing market and challenge the leading promoters and ticketing organisation.
However, they stopped short of bringing any direct change or action and established a ticketing exchange of their own that enabled individuals to sell / buy tickets at face-price value or below. At a charge of 10% service charge, which just indicates their reluctance to bring change. They continue to pressure the UK Government to introduce legislation to eradicate the ticketing problem but did not want to be seen as rocking the boat.
Another frustration which become evident and highlighted during our chat was the term “TOUT”, it was said the term that the industry used openly and overused to deflect what was really happening in the industry. Any person selling a ticket and making a profit could be termed as a tout. Even the ticket exchange are touting tickets, as they are making money from a sale. Touts are seen and being perceived as the “EVIL” of the ticketing business. However, it is used as deflect, what is really going on. At the moment the only source of getting a ticket to an event is through a tout and this is because the primary ticketing agent cannot manage the ticketing system adequately.
It was evident that during our chat that “Touts” were not seen as the problem and had a better understanding of the problems of the industry and what was really happening and was another way of the industry to deflect the consumer from what is really happening.
Live entertainment industry across the globe is controlled by a select few within the industry, they have been allowed to grow and develop a monopoly, which they use to control the industry.
They have managed to prevent artist / bands from breaking away and trying to tour without them. There has been books and articles wrote about the problem, for example Dean Budnick & Josh Baron wrote a book – TICKET MASTERS – THE RISE OF THE CONCERT INDUSTRY AND HOW THE PUBLIC GOT SCALPED
This book, I have been told will give everyone an insight into the business and was part of the research process.
The meeting give me a great insight into the Live Entertainment Industry and how it can be changed if the industry wanted it changed.
Having reviewed the strategy and an overview of the business concept, change will come and a concert goers experience enhanced.
Who is trying to bring change and fight for transperancy and FANS of Live Music.